Many Manchester United fans consider this season to be a fairly disappointing one.
The Red Devils looks set to miss out of a Champions League place for next year as they trail fourth-placed Arsenal by four points with five matches remaining.
Their only hope of salvaging something from their campaign is by winning the FA Cup, where they face Everton in the semi-finals this weekend.
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Despite calls for Louis van Gaal to be sacked as manager, there is one thing he has done incredibly well during his time at the club - introducing a host of youngsters to the first-team.
After a series of injuries to his defensive unit, the Dutchman has called up the likes of Tim Fosu-Mensah, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Joe Riley, Donald Love, Regan Poole, Guillermo Varela, Axel Tuanzebe and Ro-Shaun Williams to United’s first-team.
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But it’s not just in defence that Van Gaal has given youth a chance. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have lead the line during the campaign, scoring 20 goals between them.
However, former United defender Nemanja Vidic insists that the young defenders need a lot more help than those in attack.
"I think it’s more difficult for defenders, especially when you have three or four of them playing together in the same match,” he told MUTV.
"For the young players who come in up front, you need that energy, imagination, happiness… you can let them play and be more free, but, in defence, I think you need someone who can lead these young boys.
"United have always brought youngsters into the team and of course they have ability, they have shown that in the games they’ve played but, when you want to win the trophies, you have to patient with them. You have to give them the right matches, develop them slowly so you can think about keeping them there for many years.
"You have to be careful how you develop them. You have to accept that Manchester United always need to win trophies and when the club don’t, players have to accept some criticism and that can be hard for the younger ones to take. They need some experienced players to take that weight off their backs,” he concluded.
Vidic spent nine seasons at Old Trafford, winning five league titles and a Champions League. His presence and leadership at centre-back is something that United desperately miss with the club having not won the title since the Serb left.
He was that “experienced player” at Old Trafford and helped the likes of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling progress whilst playing alongside him. However, Smalling has had a good season defensively for United and could become the one to help tutor the teenagers playing alongside him.
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